I’m not going to lie – six months late to the the massive internet meme explosion, I’ve been listening to The Bed Intruder song, listed as the top watched Youtube video of 2010, on almost repeat as per my usual paper-writing tradition. It’s well produced,thanks to Auto-Tune the News, and of course Antoine Dodson’s expressive anger helps as well. While I definitely found a bit of discomfort in the fact that the song is about (attempted?) rape – the victim being the ‘singer’s’ sister and the fact the scene of assault is actually described – the slickly produced beat overcame such rational thoughts (see: Ying Yang Twins).
But then last night I saw this video, posted by a friend:
What does this, coupled with the insanely high profile pursuit of Wikileaks’ Julian Assange on sexual assault charges, say about our perspective on rape?
The Bed Intruder song, however catchy and well-produced, trivialized a horrific event and made it both profitable and laughable. Now you have ‘white, middle class suburban kids’ from a Christian Evangelical U. singing about rape in the projects. Whether or not Assange is guilty of sexual assault – when has there ever been such a high and relentless pursuit of a sex offender?
Both of these instances show us that rape can be reduced to either “comic fodder” or political strategy. And contrary to what many would say, this does not have a basis in patriarchy. This isn’t about sexism. Perhaps it is about our complete desensitization to violence, of which rape is one of the worst manifestations.
The result? The “idiot in the projects” was never caught and the women who made the sexual assault claims against Assange have been reduced to political opportunists, while rape as a political strategy for censorship.
Good job, guys.